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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Park Melbourne Is the New Beer Garden and Arts Space in a Former Chinatown Car Park

From the team behind Section 8 and Ferdydurke, the CBD space has an ever-evolving program of live art, installations and workshops.
By Libby Curran
October 31, 2019
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Park Melbourne Is the New Beer Garden and Arts Space in a Former Chinatown Car Park

From the team behind Section 8 and Ferdydurke, the CBD space has an ever-evolving program of live art, installations and workshops.
By Libby Curran
October 31, 2019
  shares

Sometimes, it can feel like there's a new high-rise building popping up in Melbourne every week. But, the city's newest urban development is a welcome respite from all that height. Dubbed simply Park Melbourne, the street-level retreat is the latest venture from Maz Salt, director of Cast of Falcons (Section 8, Ferdydurke, Belleville). And it's made its home in a former Chinatown car park.

After Salt won a lengthy battle with Melbourne City Council over plans and permits, the 40-year-old car park was transformed into an openair bar and public space, with an ever-evolving arts program and an indefinite lifespan.

The once bitumen-filled space has been reimagined at the hands of Baracco & Wright Architects, the minds behind 2018's Australian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Soil and bark cover the ground, and a swag of native tree have been arranged throughout, planted into recycled plastic bags in a nod to Park's temporary nature. You'll spy indigenous grasses, red gums, acacia and sheoaks, referencing what this space might have been like decades before.

Julia Sansone

In the centre of Park, you'll find a shiny silver Airstream serving up refreshments from morning till night. Opening at 8am with coffees from Brunswick roaster Founder and a rotating iced Tea 2 special, it transforms into a bar at night with tinnies of Furphy and 3 Ravens Acid sour beer, and couple of local wines. To eat, there's a selection of fresh baguettes and Pie Thief pastries. Expect regular appearances from Melbourne food truck favourites, too, like T-Rex BBQ.

As for the entertainment, Park's main aim is to deliver a diverse, ever-changing program of free events, while supporting local talent. Think, resident DJs spinning tunes, a broad lineup of creative workshops, installations and live art projects. Also on the agenda: a community radio station in a pop-up greenhouse at the front of the space.

Keep an eye on Park Melbourne's Instagram for upcoming events.

Find Park Melbourne at 132–138 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. It's open from Thursday–Saturday 8am–1am, Sunday–Wednesday 8am–11pm.

Images: Julia Sansone

Published on October 31, 2019 by Libby Curran

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